I was clicking through instagram stories the other day, when a friend from college posted a video of her listening to “Delicate” by Damien Rice. Sincere in a way I haven’t been with my sadness in many years. I replied “that song always makes me want to sob in a corner. So beautiful” then I went on to tell her I get in “Damien Rice moods” which really wasn’t true. I get in acoustic Alex Clare moods. I get in Wet moods. I get in Rhye moods. But I haven’t been a Damien Rice mood in years. Damien Rice reminds me of adolescence. Damien Rice reminds me of 2003-2009. Damien Rice reminds me of bad hair and thick, black eye liner. Damien Rice reminds me of the feeling when love songs stop having anything to do with romantic love. Damien Rice reminds me of sitting in the corner of my mother’s hospital room, watching her comatose and unresponsive. Damien Rice reminds me of later when I hear him sing “I can’t take my eyes of off you” and I’m transported back to that moment. Damien Rice reminds me of repeating over and over “Lord, can you hear me now?” Damien Rice reminds me of the time when “Lonelily” wasn’t a song about cheating and instead “I gave me away / I could have knocked off the evening / But a lonelily landed my waltz in her hands / In a way I felt you were leaving me / I was sure I wouldn’t find you at home” translated to “MOM, I’M ACTING OUT BECAUSE I’M SCARED AND LONELY AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THE FACT THAT YOU’RE NEVER COMING HOME!” Damien Rice reminds me of the depth that exists at the pit of my stomach, where I’m prepare to hit rock bottom but continue to fall.
So no, I haven’t been in a Damien Rice mood in years. I’ve blocked out so much of the trauma of watching my mom’s illness and death that I was convinced my twinge of aversion to “Delicate” was based on my aversion to the boys I kissed behind closed doors because they did their best to convince me that secrecy and manipulation were the foundations of love. That was part of it, but have you heard “Silent Night”? If that’s not a song about an angsty teenager mourning the loss of her mother I don’t know what is. Tonight I went full emo early 2000s sad girl and ran a bath, slipping into the steaming water from the cold and hitting play on O. I listened closely to the sounds of my sadness repeated back to me. A time in my life that I had trained myself to only view in snapshots came flooding in as I slowly found my voice. Rising “So it is…” rising “just like you said it would be…” rising “life comes easy for me…” rising “most of the time…” rising until I’m howling “I can’t take my mind off of you! I can’t take my mind of of you! I can’t take my mind off of you!” half submerged and naked, fully aware that my mother brought me into the world in the exact same way.